Philosophical question - email with shared domain name or not?


Do you offer cheap email or not?
If we can use a domain name, and sell just the email (like we can make email cheaper.
But you can’t change your email provider :confused:
I tend to say that I want to offer freedom, and this comes with your domain name.
But at the end, this is a philosophical question, do we want to offer cheap email, or do we want to offer freedom email?

I don’t have a clear answer, but I’d love your comments!


Why would it cost more if users can use their own domain on our platform?


I mean, let’s take the example of a new user:

  • either you use a shared domain, and it is for free for each email (the domain name part)

  • or you buy a new one, and then it comes at a price (~10$ for a .com)

Your own domain brings you full freedom whereas a shared domainname comes at a reduced freedom.

Of course if you bring your own domain, it doesn’t cost more.

Hope it is clearer.


at we offer contributors a mailbox on our domain, but we also offer to add their domain to it and explain why.


Alright, so you want to resell domain names too?
That would be pretty cool to have a libre-registrar :stuck_out_tongue:, but alot of work with EPP and stuff


I think we may have allowed one group to use their own domain with aktivix addresses. No one has asked (the request list I’m in) since but I don’t think we’d provide it again.
A pain. Even if they renew their own domain.


I used to give away email addresses to people but I don’t like the idea of them depending on my continued service for their identity, so I stopped it.

I would not spell it that way. It really depends what you need from an email domain. For example, many people are happy with just one or two email addresses they can use, e.g., for Gravatar Libravatar and other Web services registration. Some prefer their email branded. Yet some others like to use plenty of email aliases for different purposes (e.g., circumscribe origin of spam to a smaller amount of possibilities, or to have “role” addresses that can point to various email addresses over time…).

In the first case “freedom” would mean freedom from hassle managing email service at all.
In the second case, “freedom” could mean the same, or could mean freedom to control how the email “brand” is managed, while avoiding technical aspects.
In the last case, “freedom” could mean the ability to handle email aliases and nothing more…

There’s also the case where email service is used to send a lot of emails (for legitimate reasons, e.g., mailing lists, or outreach campaigns), which brings yet another kind of issues for the hoster: e.g., if one user on a shared domain, or even on a shared SMTP server starts popping up on RBL too frequently, it quickly becomes hell to manage.

I remember last year when we had a discussion with PYG about email and why Framasoft does not offer that service, he made a very good point about scaling email: an email service is hard to setup for very few accounts, but once it’s setup it’s easy to serve hundreds of accounts, until you reach thousands of accounts and you have to deal with RBL and it quickly becomes a mess. I tend to agree with this analysis.

That said, once SPF, DMARK and DKIM and setup, most of the inconvenience is gone – in part because setting up the D* things can be such a hindrance that the other inconveniences become shallow. :stuck_out_tongue:

In my case I tend to consider handling email service as a thing of the past I used to do frequently but abandoned about a decade ago, and let Gandi mail do it for me. The downside of Gandi is that they offer no D* support. So I still run an email service for a very specific use-case, that is “eventually connected email” which guarantees my email is not lost after 5 days (per protocol rules) when I’m on the road and disconnected from the Internet – in that case I make use of a networking aberration, tunneling UUCP over SSH, but that works so well I don’t ever have anything to do for it to just work.


I think this depends a lot on the typology of your users. If people are part of a collective with an own name, or if it’s an individual willing to promote its’ brand, most of the times they will want to have their own domain name. Other people don’t mind, some even like, to be on a more general, nice sounding domain name. Sometimes this is even a requirement for more anonymity.

If we are talking about more than 1-2 persons per domain, I don’t think the costs are a factor. In the case of Ecobytes we host a lot of organisations and small businesses, which in any case will want to, or already have an own domain for this purpose. And since we use modoboa, a mail management system providing a pretty cool UI on top of a nicely designed MTA architecture, the costs of providing the users with an own domain are basically none. I would even think that the costs are reduced, since we can have users as domain administrators and let them manage the addresses on their own. The system also offers per domain RBL surveying, so you can quickly get an overview when something is not functioning properly with some domain.